Isabella Boylston adding her own take to the newly-coined #EsmeraldaChallenge.

Courtesy Boylston

Is the #EsmeraldaChallenge Quarantine's Next Big Thing?

By this point in the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, people are completely burned out on dancing at home. So it's no surprise that last week, all-around dance superstar Alex Wong posted a video on Instagram performing the famous La Esmeralda variation...but in his living room. And with a frying pan instead of a tambourine.


The variation, which stems from a rarely-performed 1844 ballet based on Victor Hugo's famous novel, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, is a competition classic, favored by bunheads eager to show off their extension and control. But earlier this week, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston took to the internet, channeling her stir craziness into her own version: complete with frozen pizza.

Soon after, BalletMet dancer Jim Nowakowski joined in, also risking toe-bruising with a frying pan, à la Wong. But note that Nowakowski one-upped the other two by masterfully turning his développés.

Of course this begs the question, is the #EsmeraldaChallenge (as our friends at Pointe have chosen to coin it), quarantine's next big thing? At least we've given you a task for your weekend: Pull out your own pans, pizzas, frisbees, tortillas or whatever else you have on hand, and add your own version to the mix. Don't forget to use the hashtag #EsmeraldaChallenge and tag @pointemagazineofficial on Instagram. Happy dancing!

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Topical Pain Relievers Are the Next Item on Your Dancer Self-Care Supply List

With the stressors of the pandemic still lingering more than one year later, self-care is, rightfully, a priority for everyone right now. But dancers have always known the importance of keeping their bodies and minds as healthy as possible. After all, your body is your instrument, and as we make our long-awaited returns to the studio and stage, finding self-care strategies that work for you will be crucial to getting back up to speed—mentally and physically—with your rigorous performing and training schedule.

Dancers have a myriad of options to choose from when it comes to treating minor ailments like soreness, swelling and bruising. One that's quickly gaining popularity are topical pain relievers, which provide targeted, temporary relief of minor pain. These days, there's more than just your tried-and-true Tiger Balm on the shelves. From CBD lotions to warming gels and patches, finding the product that's right for you can be as difficult as finding the perfect Rockette-red shade of lipstick…but even more beneficial to your dance career.

Read on for our breakdown of some of the most common ingredients to look out for in the topical pain relief aisle.

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May 2021